Alinafe’s Story: Empowered to Build
“When I look at where I’m coming from, and [then] look at the future, I have great expectations.” This is how Alinafe, chair of the Chisomo savings group in Malawi, feels when she reflects on her experience with HOPE.
After just two years in her savings group, Alinafe has been able to purchase land and begin building her own house. Her current home has a mud floor and a thatched roof. Now, however, she is able to buy cement and sheet metal to build a sturdier home. The support of her savings group empowered her to take out small loans and repay them in good time. Homes for HOPE helps provide the training and support needed to start savings groups like this one.
However, beyond saving her own money, Alinafe has found a vibrant community through her savings groups. Her fellow group members encourage her through difficult times. When someone learns something new, they share it at the next meeting. Through HOPE’s resources, they are equipped to teach and encourage each other. This not only builds strong relationships; it keeps each member motivated to pay back their loans on time. Positive peer pressure is a helpful side effect of the saving group model.
One of the highlights of Alinafe’s experience was a celebration with the group’s local pastor. The pastor preached at their meeting and encouraged the members in their progress. Her group celebrated individual successes, as well as the stewardship and community of the whole group. For Alinafe, this was a special time to reflect on the rewarding experience she has had through HOPE.
Every group meeting is structured with the “5 W’s”: Welcome, Worship, Word, Work, and Wrap-Up. This structure provides a framework for spiritual as well as economic development. As a result, churches are able to come alongside community members with a holistic focus.
“My hope lies in the savings group because… when we save money and get loans there’s so much that we can do with that loan,” says Alinafe.
Alinafe also credits her savings group facilitator for his discipling role in their group. “Where we see that there are challenges, he is able to guide us”, she says. The facilitator comes alongside each member and ensures that they are moving forward personally and financially. Through her role as chair of her savings group, she is able to encourage and build up her peers. Alinafe is also becoming empowered to build a more abundant life of her own.